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Carnivorous Plants/Growing Darlingtonia Californica from seed

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Question
I've been looking around at various guides, looking for various pitfalls, but since I live in SE Portland about 20 minutes from the nursery I was hoping you might have some tips on care in our climate.

As they have a reputation for being rather fussy I did not buy an established or fully grown plant but rather a collection of seeds, took them out of the fridge about a month ago and they have started sprouting (at about an 85% germination rate so I've got a few plants to play with).

I was planning on keeping them inside at least the first year but I wasn't sure if I should extend that or take them outside late summer/early fall. I currently have them in just a standard CP mix of 50/50 peat and perlite though I've gathered that I should switch that to a sandier mix.

Any tips or advice would be welcome, I honestly wasn't expecting so many to germinate I don't usually have good luck with seeds from eBay.

Answer
Hi Jesse,

When the seed is fresh, Darlingtonia tend to germinate really well as you are experiencing.

I would try keeping some inside and put the others outside and see how they do.  Darlingtonia don't tend to respond as well to things like 24 hour light cycles, keeping them under lights and fertilizing etc... like people do with Sarracenia seedlings.  Having said that, more experimentation is always good.  I wish I could tell you that we've had lots of experience with this, but we really haven't with Darlingtonia.

If you've got plants to play with different soil medias would be good to try to.  This year we planted lots of Darlingtonia seed and have most on New Zealand Sphagnum moss and on tray on Napa Floor Dry, which is a calcined clay.  We also have some seeds scattered on our tubs with peat.  In the past peat has given us the worst results since it seems a little worse about harboring fungus.  I wanted to try the calcined clay since one orchid nursery I know grows Cypripedium californicum in a mix of Turface and perlite, and Turface is super similar to Napa Floor Dry.  This Cypripedium grows right next to Darlingtonia in Southern Oregon the the same habitats.

The bottom line is experiment and see what happens.  I'll be anxious to hear your results.  Here's one of the best article I've read on Darlingtonia seed:  http://www.carnivorousplants.org/howto/GrowingGuides/Darlingtonia.php

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com

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